When there are three people in the room, and yours is the only visible cervix, it is very difficult to speak with authority. So, when I saw the stainless steel cart topple only slightly, and I heard the faint tinkle of something hitting the floor, and the idiot medical assistant said, “Oops” – I did not shout, “Please tell me you did not just drop the fucking biopsy sample!”
So, my first visit to my gyno was the best one. That is not sarcasm, but it may seem more and more like sarcasm as I go on. (By the way, my doctor’s name is absolutely perfect for a gynecologist. If you email me, I will tell you, but you might have guessed already.)
I waited for two hours in the waiting room, then the doc’s medical assisant stepped out and called me back. She is Moe, Larry and Curly all rolled into one middle aged woman. Truly, in all my days, I have never met a more daft person. Henceforth, we will refer to her as Murly. Murly is my lifelong nemesis. She doesn’t know that, so I guess she’s my secret nemesis. Is that a thing?
Murly weighs me, then asks me my height. I am 5′ 7″. Wake up! This is pertinent info, because later in this story, the height thing almost puts me over the fucking edge.
Murly apologizes to me for the long wait time, explaining that they are learning how to use a new computer system.
It’s another hour before my feet finally go into the stirrups. The doctor says, “Well, I can see your cervix, but there’s a little bump there I can’t identify. We need to schedule you for a colposcopy next week so I can get a better look. Even if your pap is normal, I still want to do the procedure.” Turns out, the thing she saw was a benign cyst, but gah, you never want your doctor to say the equivalent of, “No idea what the fuck that is.”
On the way out, I am told to tell them at the front desk that the doctor needs to see me again. I tell the lady at scheduling just that. She squints at her monitor screen and says, “All I see here is where you had a colonoscopy.” “No”, I say, “The thing she wants me to have is a similar word.” She works in a gynecologist’s office. Why am I having to explain terminology to her that I literally heard for the first time ten minutes before?
A colposcopy, by the way, is where the doctor gets a better look at area in question with a giant magnifying glass called a colposcope and she also takes samples of anything concerning.
I take a deep breath and go home. My appointment is for the following Monday.
My doc called over the weekend to let me know my pap was abnormal and that we should “go ahead with the colposcopy”, which I thought had been the plan all along. Her call had just ensured that I didn’t have a worry-free moment between appointments.
This time, I only wait about 15 minutes before Murly walks me out of the waiting area. She has me step on a scale, cruelly tells me my weight and asks me how tall I am again.
I am still 5′ 7″.
She puts me in a regular room, which confuses me a bit, and she starts fiddling with the computer and asking me about my medications, which I had told her the week before, but no big deal, I tell her again. She ends up calling in a tech guy to help her to enter my info, which is awkward, because he gets to hear about how my vagina is doing and vaginas are not his job. While techie dude is doing his thing, Murly says to him, “She’s here for a follow-up to her colposcopy.” I break in to say, “No, I had a regular exam last week, the colposcopy is today.” She turns to me, “Oh, I know.” Then she goes right on talking about the new system.
Tech guy leaves and Murly quickly tells me to undress from the waist down. She points to a tissue paper covering on top of the exam table and tells me I can cover up with it. Her parting shot as she closes the door is, “The doctor will just make sure you’re healing properly.” Healing from what? I get undressed anyway. I don’t know for sure at this point that they can’t just drag the equipment into the room I’m currently in, so I do as I’m told.
I’m pantsless on the table in my fancy toilet paper blanket when Murly pops her head into the room and says in a panic, “You’re scheduled for the colposcopy today. We need to move you to another room.”
I put my pants on, open the door and eagerly await my next instructions. The doctor comes by and tells me they are moving me and asks if I need anything. I ask where the bathroom is and she points me down the hall and says, “Just wait outside the bathroom when you finish.”
I have just finished my pee when I hear a knock. Murly is telling me through the door that she needs a urine sample for a pregnancy test. I say to the door, “Sorry, I don’t think I can give you one. I can’t be pregnant. I’ve had my tubes tied.” I do my best and manage three drops in the plastic cup.
So, remember the beginning of my post? We’re almost to that part of the story, and I’ll tell you now, what I actually said was, “That wasn’t my biopsy tissue that fell, was it?” I spoke those words very quietly so as not to startle my cervix. The Great Pink Sea Snail had a clamp on it at the time and it is usually quite shy anyway and doesn’t like being out in the open air, so I was careful to take that into account.
Of course Murly had dropped my sample. Her motto in life is, “What can I fuck up today?” We are so lucky she chose a career in medicine. I mean, sure, through sheer incompetence, she’ll end up killing hundreds before she’s done, but at least she doesn’t work in air traffic control or at a nuclear power plant.
Think about that when you go to sleep tonight, kids. This is a two parter. (Three more visits to go, and I’m taking you with me.)
I have this insane need to be a model patient (well, except for not losing the weight like multiple doctors have told me, bygones) and I actually am repeatedly told I’m a “great patient!” I say this to paint a picture. I’ve reached a point where when I am asked when my last period was, I answer with an irritated tone. I get that they see a lot of people; I get that I have only a small handful of doctors and they see dozens of different people a day. Still, is it really so much to ask that somewhere in my file the words radical hysterectomy and endometrial cancer be included in 48pt red (because, vagina)font? Apparently, this is the most impossible of requests.
That’s worse if it’s your pcp’s staff doing that to you. That painful situation should have happened only once and from then on, like you said, nice big note on the chart.
I have another appointment coming up, and I am just so very over those people, I may need to get drunk first to even deal.